Much like “rules” about ditching your white clothes after Labor Day, avoiding white wines during the winter is an outdated notion. Think of it this way: your favorite pair of white pants are as striking on you in October as they are in May, just as a crisp Pinot Bianco is just as quenching with scallop ceviche in the summer as it is with butternut squash ravioli in the winter.
That said, as the days get shorter and temperatures drop, our appetites begin craving richer food. Whether it’s a whole roasted chicken, apple-braised pork Osso Bucco or mashed potatoes, heartier comfort foods are a favorite on wintertime and holiday menus. More gravy? Yes please!
Even the most novice wine drinker can understand the most important tenet to truly enjoying wine: drink what you like, period. If you enjoy white wines in the summer, that same refreshing acidity will benefit your winter meals too, cutting the fat and enhancing the foods we love when it’s cold outside. So many of our favorite winter foods, from roasted root vegetables to French onion soup, simply pair just as well (or better!) with white wine.
So, rather than cutting out white wines entirely, winter is the time to opt for white wines with the gravitas to accent the richness and flavors of cold-weather favorites such as homemade macaroni and cheese, duck cassoulet or roasted mushroom risotto. By looking for bottles with more minerality and depth, you can pair them with all of your favorite winter dishes. Look no further than the white wines of the Alto Adige.
Since 1919, Kettmeir has crafted fresh, flavorful wines in this hauntingly beautiful place. Their network of family growers dedicated to producing the best grapes possible has ensured consistent quality for almost a century- and the craftsmanship shows in each and every bottle
To visit this beautiful area in Northern Italy—bordering Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Austria—is to descend upon a lush Alpine wonderland. At only 13,000 acres, this tiny region somehow manages to have 7 distinct growing sub-regions. With its range of soil types, altitudes, and temperatures, it imparts a strong sense of place on all its wines. You will find focused flavors, finesse, and zesty fragrance as fresh and bracing as the nearby pine forests, the crystal-clear lakes, the rolling hills.
When dining here, you will find umami-packed cheeses, rich potato dumplings, smoked meats. Mediterranean flavors marry mountain crops and Germanic cooking traditions—most towns have both an Italian and a German name. Think goulash, polenta, buckwheat, sauerkraut. Think asparagus, speck, dark forest berries. With such hearty food, the obvious wine pairing is crisp, opulent whites made just down the road.
If you’re a Pinot Grigio fan, you don’t have to search long to find something scrumptious from the Alto Adige. Its cold evenings and glacial soils mean that here, Pinot Grigio becomes fragrant and focused—some of the best in the world, in fact. Kettmeir’s Pinot Grigio displays the classic, complex elegance of the region. Rather than the light citrus and apple flavors you may expect, you’ll get lovely notes of lemon curd, flint and fresh mountain herbs. Alpine Pinot Grigio pairs beautifully with baked seafood, herb roasted potatoes, or even a winter salad of citrus, avocado and radicchio. If you’re looking for an easy weeknight dinner with this wine, try pairing with your favorite roast chicken and a loaf of crusty bread.
150 years ago, suave Pinot Blanc sojourned from its Burgundy home to Alto Adige, where it has been thriving ever since. If you want a winter-appropriate, citrus-driven wine with notes of white florals and a sturdy mineral backbone, Pinot Bianco is the move. This elegant bright wine with notes of stone fruit, and lime peel can take on hearty, winter foods such as Gorgonzola Gnocci, a cheesy vegetable gratin or a holiday Cioppino.
Thanks to the sunny Alpine days in Alto Adige, Kettmeir’s Pinot Bianco is both sturdy and refreshing—a winter white that’s not too heavy,but can hold its own as an accompaniment to your dinner. You’ll find beautiful herbal notes, tempered with essences of stone fruit and lime zest. For a regional pairing, try it with nutty, aromatic Stelvio, a DOP cheese from Alto Adige. Add some Speck, some pickled veggies and fresh bread and you’re in business.
For those who want a wine, with a festive nose and versatile enough to pair with even the spiciest of it’s-too-cold-outside-to leave-the-house takeout (or the cornucopia of dishes at the Thanksgiving table), Mueller-Thurgau is a majestic Alpine wine that is sturdy enough for cold weather, but delicate enough to sip on its own any time of year. Expect notes of nutmeg and baking spices, marzipan and a round finish.
This is the perfect wild card wine to keep around. Whether needing a pairing for your Aunt’s glazed holiday ham, ordering takeout Pad Kee Mao, or enjoying a snow day with a bowl of curried pumpkin soup, its soft floral and spice notes will brighten the flavors in your dish, and enhance the umami. For this, we also recommend Kettmeir—a standout, with notes of white mountain flowers, honeydew melon, and exuberant orange blossoms.
For white wine aficionados, there’s no reason to cease drinking your preferred bottles during the winter! Whether you opt for a rich, wintery dish, or perhaps a New Year’s Day Gumbo, the stunning white wines from Alto Adige will serve you well, and who better than Kettmeir to fill your glass with something you’ll love?
This article is sponsored by Kettmeir.